Lightning Sparks Nearly 60 New Wildfires

Thunderstorms Thursday night pounded Central Oregon with more than 600 lightning strikes, igniting at least 58 new wildfires crews are dealing with today.

Lightning is the suspected cause of the Glass Butte fire. It’s located about 85 miles southeast of Bend near Highway 20.

It’s burning in a scar from a previous wildfire, but regenerated grass, shrubs and juniper fuels allowed it to grow to 25 acres before suppression efforts took effect.

“Right now it’s 26 1/2 acres. They have three engines and one 20-person crew,” said Jeff Bishop, Deschutes National Forest Assistant Fire Manager. “They’ve got line completely around the Glass Butte Fire and they’ve mopped up 50 feet all the way around the perimeter of the fire. They expect that fire to be in full containment tonight some time before dark.”

Officials expect to find more holdover fires to flare up as conditions dry out and the fires generate enough smoke to be seen.

“If the public sees any smokes out there, the best thing to do is call 911 and report your area, where you’re at, a milepost marker, the road that you’re on and where you are seeing the smoke, be it east, west, etc.,” Bishop said. “Try to give them a good landmark. They will call us at Central Oregon Dispatch and we will send crews out there.”

The majority of fires caused by yesterday’s lightning are less than acre in size. Lookouts and fire crews remain on alert with more lightning possible tonight and over the weekend.



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